Best Representation of Ourselves...
I awoke this morning with this thought...perhaps everyone we meet, that version of them, is the best representation of them that they have been working their whole lives to curate. Maybe I could start honoring them for all that effort...even if the version I see is less than what I think it should be, or would like?
It feels like a revolutionary thought...
Let me begin with me...
I have been working on myself since I really became aware of myself as a self. Probably started in late elementary school. I saw myself as less than in ways that were objectionable to me (and some others) and I set about to change that. And I have been a work in progress ever since. I am pretty sure before the age of 10, I just existed. I do not remember ever having a thought about myself like I could or should be different. I just was the way I was. But in 5th grade, I remember, distinctively seeing defects, issues and things that I wanted to change about myself. And so I set about the task.
Now looking back, I was likely focused on the wrong things for the wrong reasons. I wanted to be hotter and dumber and in better shape. I wanted to be cooler and more popular. Looking back now, I so wish I could go back and tell me I was actually just fine on all of those fronts. That my time would come later in the areas of hot, cool, smart and fit. And instead, redirect my attention to the trauma that was roiling beneath my surface that was going to cause me and others oh so much heartache in the years that followed. I knew something was wrong, I just focused on the wrong shit.
Regardless of whether I was aiming in the right direction, the arrow of self actualization was launched and I have been on a tether flying behind ever since...the trajectory begun but not yet compeleted. I have been working somewhat diligently ever since.
And this got me thinking that if I do this perhaps so is everyone else. I mean I am not so unique in this department. So when people meet me today on the street, they are getting the result of decades of work which still might be a huge disappointment to them but regardless I have put in the time and work and effort all the same. Tears and blood have been involved. And sweat, a great deal of sweat.
So when people do not honor that or even really acknowledge it, it feels like a slight. It feels like all my hard work has gone unnoticed, unappreciated and sometimes for naught. So this morning when I woke, I thought why don’t I start treating everyone I meet as though I appreciate all their efforts at self actualization in our encounters? Perhaps if I start seeing all the effort in others and giving that voice or at least a nod of recognition, perhaps my perception of them and their value might change.
The whole thought process felt revolutionary. Truly.
Are we not all walking around doing our best to present the result of all our efforts at self care, change, actualization and the like? Are we not all, despite how much progress is made, walking around with the best representation of ourselves we have? And shouldn’t that be honored?
For me it is a resounding YES! I want to acknowledge everyone I encounter with some sort of tipping of my hat towards their efforts, some sort of nod in the direction of the effort they have put forth instead of judgment as to how much further they need to go or how pitiful the representation appears to me. Their lifetime, their whole living experience has accumulated to this person standing in front of you. And that feels like it really doesn’t get enough attention or value or appreciation in this world.
We are all moving through the world working, living, loving, dying all the time. Why do we not greet each other with some recognition of our mutual but separate efforts? Feels wrong, no?
Well it does to me so I am going to change the way I interact with people. I am going to do my best to acknowledge each person’s growth and living experience when I meet them. And do my best to leave the judgment about whether or not they should be further along to just die a natural death.
I am pretty sure this is what Namaste really means. The spiritual being in me recognized the spiritual being in you. Meaning: we both see the effort, growth and tender care we have each taken to arrive at this particular place in time in our personage. Think about how much effort and work that truly has taken! Pretty miraculous really.
I am not sure what will happen to me by doing this but I feel like I am standing on the edge of something that will alter me greatly. And so I pray it is with you also. I pray that we each may see each other with a loving gratitude for all the work we have done to arrive in this present version of ourselves all while working always to continue the effort. Again, still.